Swammerdam , Jan

Swammerdam , Jan
(1637–1680) Dutch naturalist and microscopist
Swammerdam, an Amsterdam apothecary's son, studied medicine at Leiden University, graduating in 1667. However he never practiced and instead devoted his life to microscopical studies of a widely varying nature. His most important work, namely the discovery and description of red blood corpuscles in 1658, was completed before he went to university. He later demonstrated experimentally that muscular contraction involves a change in the shape but not volume of the muscle. He also studied movements of the heart and lungs and discovered the valves in the lymph vessels that are named for him.
Swammerdam is also remembered for his pioneering work on insects. He collected some 3000 different species and illustrated and described the anatomy, reproductive processes, and life histories of many of these. This work, together with his system of insect classification, laid the foundations of modern entomology. Swammerdam's Biblia naturae (Book of Nature), published long after his death (1737–38), still stands as one of the finest one-man collections of microscopical observations.
At the theoretical level Swammerdam developed a new argument in support of the preformationist position, the view that organisms are born already formed. His argument, first presented in hisHistoria insectorum (1669; Account of Insects), was based upon the nature of insect metamorphosis. At first sight it might appear that the metamorphic process supported the alternative view of development, epigenesis, the claim that organisms develop gradually and in sequence. Swammerdam, however, revealed a different picture when, with the aid of a microscope, he succeeded in identifying structures belonging to butterflies in pupae and caterpillars. The caterpillar, Swammerdam insisted, was not changed into a butterfly, rather grew by the expansion of parts already formed. Nor does the tadpole change into a frog; it becomes a frog “by the infolding and increasing of some of its parts.” In proof of his position Swammerdam would display a silkworm to his critics, peel off the outer skin, and display the rudiments of the wings within.
In the same work Swammerdam added one more piece of evidence against the claim that organisms can generate spontaneously. Insects found in plant galls, he pointed out, developed from eggs laid therein by visiting flies.

Scientists. . 2011.

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  • Jan Swammerdam — (February 12, 1637, Amsterdam February 17, 1680) was a Dutch biologist and microscopist. His work on insects demonstrated that the various phases during the life of an insect egg, larva, pupa, and adult are different forms of the same animal. As… …   Wikipedia

  • Jan Swammerdam — (portrait factice) Naissance 12 février 1637 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • SWAMMERDAM (J.) — SWAMMERDAM JAN (1637 1680) Naturaliste hollandais qui, bien que destiné à l’état religieux par son père, entre en 1663 à l’université de Leyde pour y étudier la médecine sous la direction notamment de Van Horne et de Le Boë. L’année suivante, il… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Jan Swammerdam — Jan Swammerdan Nacimiento 12 de febrero de 1637 Fallecimiento 17 de agosto de 1680 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Jan — /jan/; for 1 also Du., Ger. /yahn/, n. 1. a male given name, form of John. 2. a female given name, form of Janet. * * * (as used in expressions) Brueghel Jan the Elder Jan Amos Komenský Dussek Jan Ladislav Eyck Jan van Gossart Jan Jan Mabuse Jan… …   Universalium

  • Jan — m. Adaptación del nombre «khan», defendida como la más conforme a la pronunciación de esta palabra en su lengua original. ⇒ Can, kan, Khan. * * * jan. m. Cuba. Vara de madera dura, rematada en una punta de hierro, que se emplea para ahoyar en la… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Swammerdam — Swammerdam, Jan, geb. 12. Febr. 1637 in Amsterdam, wo sein Vater Apotheker war; Anatom u. Naturforscher, bes. Entomolog, studirte seit 1661 in Leyden, Saumur u. Paris u. kehrte 1665 nach Amsterdam zurück, wo er sich wissenschaftlich beschäftigte …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Swammerdam — Swammerdam, Jan, Naturforscher, geb. 12. Febr. 1637 in Amsterdam, gest. daselbst 15. Febr. 1680, studierte seit 1661 in Leiden Medizin, ging auf einige Jahre nach Saumur und Paris, kehrte 1665 nach Amsterdam, 1666 nach Leiden zurück, erwarb dort… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Swammerdam — Swammerdam, Jan, niederländ. Naturforscher, namentlich Anatom und Zootom, geb. 12. Febr. 1637 in Amsterdam, gest. das. 17. Febr. 1685; schrieb u.a. »Miraculum naturae, seu uteri muliebris fabrica« (1672). Seine »Biblia naturae sive historia… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Swammerdam — Swammerdam, Jan, holländ. Naturforscher und Anatom, geb. 1637 zu Amsterdam, studierte zu Leyden u. Paris und lebte dann in seiner Vaterstadt, wo er sich besonders mit anatomischen und zoologischen Studien und Forschungen beschäftigte, und durch… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Swammerdam — Swammerdam, Jan …   Enciclopedia Universal

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